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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Old 05-08-2012   #81
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I am 100% film for my BW, but I have seen many digital BW images, here and elsewhere, that I simply love. For me, the choice is about cost and equipment. Every digital camera I know about has a problem attached; either too expensive, too big and awkard, too cumbersome to manage the controls, too awkard to manually control focus. I love the film cameras and if you like to see your images in print form, which I do, the overall cost is much lower.
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Old 05-08-2012   #82
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I could not see any "extended spectral response" on that curves as beyond 650-700nm everything is in "undesired" IR-range; .
Surely that depends on what you desire?

http://www.achromaticplus.com/www.ac.../The_Back.html

Conventional black & white copy photography with preservation of extreme tonal ranges.
•Extended ultraviolet & infared imaging sensitivity for image analysis and authentication.
•Digital zone-system technology with complete optical filtering capabilities.
•Multi-image spectral separation photography for pure color separation imaging and preservation of color originals.
•Ideal for glass plate imaging, large format aerial film digitization and volume digitization projects demanding the utmost in image quality.

We are not talking Tri-X territory here which is why, we agree, the Leica implementation will be interesting. There may be a range of filters on the sensor to special order and/or a range of lens filters.
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Old 05-08-2012   #83
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I find the biggest knock regarding digital B&W is that most prints are made with color paper. Of course, you can come pretty darn close when you're making the prints with a printer set up with inks that can reproduce B&W.

To nothing better than a Ag Gel print!
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Old 05-08-2012   #84
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i got over my former prejudice against digital with use of the x100. it's just another medium, yo, with lots and lots of variety ...
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Old 05-08-2012   #85
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I have done BW film for at least 50 yrs. I have yet to see the same feel in a digital BW image. Of course there are some outstanding images made but they are not the same.
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Old 05-08-2012   #86
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Thanks for putting that together Bob, that is really interesting! The difference between film and digital looks even more dramatic in the final graph because of the extended scale of the X axis vs the first chart that shows the HP5 curve but even accounting for that it's still more than small change.
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Old 05-08-2012   #87
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Thanks for putting that together Bob, that is really interesting! The difference between film and digital looks even more dramatic in the final graph because of the extended scale of the X axis vs the first chart that shows the HP5 curve but even accounting for that it's still more than small change.
"The extended scale of the X axis...." has nothing to do with us.. We, as general photographers this side of the special or scientific interests , are interested in only the visible portion of the spectrum, that is roughly between 400nm to 700nm in photography.. Beyond -and beneath- that our cameras (or film) are designed to "eliminate" all other wavelengths this or that way due to their undesired effects on the outputs. Note that all dynamic range measurements are based on the mentioned range.
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Old 05-08-2012   #88
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facinating conversation...

if i were to boil everything that i have just read down to one simple statement it would look something like...'the biggest knock against digital black and white is that...it's not film!

i can live with that.
i like and prefer the look of a clean grain free image. many folks go to medium and large format to tone down the grain.
i am pleased that digital is different from film...choice is a wonderful thing.
i have printed in a wet darkroom, on and off, for more than 30 years, got pretty good at it, sold lots of prints and had some published...i think i can tell a good wet print from a crappy wet print and i know the 'joy' of film and wet prints...

but it's new times and i for one am embracing them.

to each his/her own...
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Old 05-08-2012   #89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobYIL View Post
"The extended scale of the X axis...." has nothing to do with us.. We, as general photographers this side of the special or scientific interests , are interested in only the visible portion of the spectrum, that is roughly between 400nm to 700nm in photography.. Beyond -and beneath- that our cameras (or film) are designed to "eliminate" all other wavelengths this or that way due to their undesired effects on the outputs. Note that all dynamic range measurements are based on the mentioned range.
Righto, just saying that someone who is "graph impaired" or careless might not notice the different scales and assume they are the same. The difference is large no matter what, but if you carelessly assumed that the CCD graph only went to 750 like the HP5 graph it'd look like the CCD tanks through an even bigger spectrum than it already does.
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Old 05-08-2012   #90
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Quote:
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facinating conversation...

if i were to boil everything that i have just read down to one simple statement it would look something like...'the biggest knock against digital black and white is that...it's not film!

i can live with that.
i like and prefer the look of a clean grain free image. many folks go to medium and large format to tone down the grain.
i am pleased that digital is different from film...choice is a wonderful thing.
i have printed in a wet darkroom, on and off, for more than 30 years, got pretty good at it, sold lots of prints and had some published...i think i can tell a good wet print from a crappy wet print and i know the 'joy' of film and wet prints...



but it's new times and i for one am embracing them.

to each his/her own...
This basically sums it up for me as well. I'm not finding digital lacking, and yes I have printed traditionally - in fact was trained to do so.

Getting good black and white from digital is hard. Getting good black and white from black and white is hard too. Being good at one does not make one good at the other and that causes frustration. Not everyone is interested in taking on the learning curve and I suspect those are the ones that say digital b&w is inferior. It's a different medium, not a lesser one.
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Old 05-08-2012   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobYIL View Post
I herewith will try to shed a light on the discussions of film B&W vs. digital B&W from -a little- engineering point of view; with as simple terms as possible.

Regards,

Bob


Very nice Bob.

You could probably get round this by profiling the sensor in the camera and the film stock that is to be emulated. That information would be incorporated in to a 3d look up table that would handle the conversion.

It's done a lot in the movie business, but building a LUT like that is not a trivial task.

I suspect that the guys who make Truegrain may be doing something like this.

http://www.grubbasoft.com/index.html
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Old 05-09-2012   #92
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The issue of different spectral response is valid, as is the the issue of a sensor's linear exposure curve vs the characteristic curves of various films.

However, this is mostly resolved with a few computer strokes in you favorite film emulation software.
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Old 05-09-2012   #93
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Grain is not intrinsic to digital as it is with film, and adding it to digital files is just dumb. If you want grain, use the medium that has it: fast films. So much of our modern world is falsehood built on lie built on delusion. There is nothing wrong with authenticity; with using an artistic medium in a way that is honest and honors that medium's nature.
Dear Chris,

That's my feeling, too. Add-on grain, along with fake Polaroid edges and faux filed-out negative carriers on digital images remind me of those 'oil painting' photographs where clear, thick varnish is laid over the picture with a brush to create 'brush strokes' and make it 'look like a painting'.

Cheers,

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Old 05-09-2012   #94
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However, this is mostly resolved with a few computer strokes in you favorite film emulation software.
There is actually one essential reason that this is never true. Read this article to understand why:

http://photo-utopia.blogspot.se/2007...nd-clumps.html
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Old 05-09-2012   #95
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Quote:
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Dear Chris,

That's my feeling, too. Add-on grain, along with fake Polaroid edges and faux filed-out negative carriers on digital images remind me of those 'oil painting' photographs where clear, thick varnish is laid over the picture with a brush to create 'brush strokes' and make it 'look like a painting'.

Cheers,

R.
I agree Roger. Let digital be digital.
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Old 05-09-2012   #96
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joe, that's a fine summation ...
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Old 05-09-2012   #97
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Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
facinating conversation...

if i were to boil everything that i have just read down to one simple statement it would look something like...'the biggest knock against digital black and white is that...it's not film!

i can live with that.
i like and prefer the look of a clean grain free image. many folks go to medium and large format to tone down the grain.
i am pleased that digital is different from film...choice is a wonderful thing.
i have printed in a wet darkroom, on and off, for more than 30 years, got pretty good at it, sold lots of prints and had some published...i think i can tell a good wet print from a crappy wet print and i know the 'joy' of film and wet prints...

but it's new times and i for one am embracing them.

to each his/her own...
I do like Joe's summary...the technical aspects of threads like this give me a headache. I would rather be out shooting. Now load those cameras with the medium of your choice (film or memory card) and get out there and shoot something!
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Old 05-09-2012   #98
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I do think adding grain in post processing is silly. (...) and adding it to digital files is just dumb.
It´s not silly or dumb, it´s how I want my pictures to look. A tad of texture looks more pleasing than a super clean file, at least to me.

Everything goes, that is digital. If I am happy with the results - or the audience is - perfect.

Who are you to tell me what is silly and dumb?
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Old 05-09-2012   #99
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but it's new times and i for one am embracing them.
This includes a presumption that those who think film looks better are somehow 'in denial', or backward-looking nostalgists, unable or unwilling to face the challenge of "new times".

I come from a digital background, and work every day with digital media, but then I saw the real difference between how film and a digital sensor captures light - especially bright light and abrupt transitions (amongst other differences) - and since then the rubbish I read about how these immense differences are merely a matter of 'taste' or a few clicks of software really incense me. It's as offensive as listening to some oaf in a museum laughing at a Picasso, or saying that "a five year old could paint better".

By all means use digital or film or your iPhone with Hipstamatic (I use all of these), but spare me the sermons.
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Old 05-09-2012   #100
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It´s not silly or dumb, it´s how I want my pictures to look. A tad of texture looks more pleasing than a super clean file, at least to me.

Everything goes, that is digital. If I am happy with the results - or the audience is - perfect.

Who are you to tell me what is silly and dumb?
Who I am is not a secret, I do not hide behind fake internet names, and my work is online for anyone to see.

I stand by what I said. If you like grain, shoot film. There's no reason to falsify your work. Just choose the medium that works for it. I feel the same about people who make blue-toned black and white photos in Photoshop and try to pass them off as 'cyanotypes', or people who add fake film borders to digital photos. Its dishonest, because it implies that the person doing it has skills that they may not have (cyanotypes require a different knowledge and skillset, compared to digifaking it) and not necessary.
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Old 05-09-2012   #101
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisCrawford
I do think adding grain in post processing is silly. (...) and adding it to digital files is just dumb.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedfreak View Post
It´s not silly or dumb, it´s how I want my pictures to look. A tad of texture looks more pleasing than a super clean file, at least to me.

Everything goes, that is digital. If I am happy with the results - or the audience is - perfect.

Who are you to tell me what is silly and dumb?
Not to step on toes here but Chris' comment is an opinion - that can be seen with his statement (which you quoted) "I do think . . . . " - that's just his opinion on it. Your opinion is different.

No one opinion is "more correct" than the opinion of someone else.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 05-09-2012   #102
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Quote:
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facinating conversation...

if i were to boil everything that i have just read down to one simple statement it would look something like...'the biggest knock against digital black and white is that...it's not film!

Pretty much. Microwave ovens are not like firewood stoves (either is evil, condescending, etc. etc. depending on who you ask). Digital watches tell the time more cleanly than 10-jewel mechanical pocket watches (either is evil, condescending, etc. etc. depending on who you ask). Whiteboard markers make you write English in a different way than fountain pens.

The list goes on, and the polarized will stick to their guns.


Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
but it's new times and i for one am embracing them.

to each his/her own...
No! Kodachrome is the only true photographic recording medium in the whole history of the world and everything else is wrong.
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Old 05-09-2012   #103
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Its dishonest, because it implies that the person doing it has skills that they may not have (cyanotypes require a different knowledge and skillset, compared to digifaking it) and not necessary.
I was with you up until this point. However, you seem to be saying that real cyanotypes is a much better and noble process than digital. I've done cyanotypes and they weren't that hard to do. You just paint the emulsion on a piece of paper (after mixing the chemicals required) and then use it. It's not that hard of a process.

While I'm not into "faking" things via software, I have no issue with people who do, nor do I think someone is less relavent because they use software instead of a chemical process.
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Old 05-09-2012   #104
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The self-righteousness of the Pure must be a heavy burden to bear. The tortured artist lives!

I'm waiting for one of you to cut off your ear and mail it to the forum moderator.
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Old 05-09-2012   #105
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This includes a presumption that those who think film looks better are somehow 'in denial', or backward-looking nostalgists, unable or unwilling to face the challenge of "new times".

I come from a digital background, and work every day with digital media, but then I saw the real difference between how film and a digital sensor captures light - especially bright light and abrupt transitions (amongst other differences) - and since then the rubbish I read about how these immense differences are merely a matter of 'taste' or a few clicks of software really incense me. It's as offensive as listening to some oaf in a museum laughing at a Picasso, or saying that "a five year old could paint better".

By all means use digital or film or your iPhone with Hipstamatic (I use all of these), but spare me the sermons.
no sermons here just my take on things...you seem a bit sensitive on this...i make no presumptions but merely state my feelings on the matter...your reply seems closer to a sermon than my stated observation.
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Old 05-09-2012   #106
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The manipulation of a raw RGB data file to produce a B&W image is no differerent than manipulating a the same data to produce a color image. If I prefer low color saturation levels in my color digital images, am I being inauthentic?

Recently I saw a series of digital photos that were produced in the style of large Kodachrome positive film used in the US before and during WW II. Obviously you can't use this medium today. Was the photogographer a fraud because they wanted to produce that look? Should that look never be used again because the original medium is no longer available?

In any case the final result can be clumsy, crude, inappropriate and inelegant. Because the manipulation tools are readily available, the chances of unthoughtful results are high. This does not invalidate aesthetically sophisticated, elegant work.
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Old 05-09-2012   #107
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The issue of different spectral response is valid, as is the the issue of a sensor's linear exposure curve vs the characteristic curves of various films.

However, this is mostly resolved with a few computer strokes in you favorite film emulation software.
".. resolved with a few computer strokes in your favorite flilm emulation software."

Really? The one on the left will be turned into the one on the right? The physicists and software engineers employed by Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, etc. were tearing themselves to accomplish it. Do you know how the "actual" curve based on the sensor-response curve looks like "with a few computer strokes" in that software?

Leave the overall response curve aside, the individual color curves are to cover a tiny band on the spectrum (shown in my first post), just one tenth of it maybe: Do you know any software to deliver the blue band of Velvia 50 as it is?

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Old 05-09-2012   #108
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no sermons here just my take on things...you seem a bit sensitive on this...i make no presumptions but merely state my feelings on the matter...your reply seems closer to a sermon than my stated observation.
Well let's leave aside my "personal sensitivity" about the subject, which is really just the usual internet stratagem for side-stepping the issue. I'd be more interested on your comments about the Chumps and Clumps blog article that I linked to earlier in the thread. Seems to me that the differences are more than just "digital isn't film!"

These discussions really do remind me of people who argue that there's absolutely no difference between Thunderbird wine and a really good Burgundy. They personally can't tell the difference, so anyone else who sees it must be bluffing or a fraud.
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Old 05-09-2012   #109
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speaking of digital and black and white, what does the "structure" slider in SEP do? i had SEP for trial. some kind of edge sharpening? digital accutance?
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Old 05-09-2012   #110
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These discussions really do remind me of people who argue that there's absolutely no difference between Thunderbird wine and a really good Burgundy. They personally can't tell the difference, so anyone else who sees it must be bluffing or a fraud.
Well, if someone can't tell the difference does it really make a difference to that person? No... .but to the wine connoisseur there's a huge difference and they are the ones that get upset about someone else NOT knowing the difference...

Ignorance is bliss after all

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Old 05-09-2012   #111
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speaking of digital and black and white, what does the "structure" slider in SEP do? i had SEP for trial. some kind of edge sharpening? digital accutance?
Paul, my understanding of the "structure" slider is that it handles something like "micro contrast" - so ya... unsharp mask is the best way I could describe it.

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Old 05-09-2012   #112
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if you dont like digital bw, than its a matter of taste. But if you hate digital bw, you simply have no clue about post processing...
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Old 05-09-2012   #113
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thanks, dave. i'd like to have that slider by itself. it seems much more delicate than plain ol' photoshop sharpening tools.
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Old 05-09-2012   #114
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Well let's leave aside my "personal sensitivity" about the subject, which is really just the usual internet stratagem for side-stepping the issue.
Yup.

And thanks for the link to the blog article. It is interesting to see people (e.g. Reichman) build models with insufficient or incorrect information. I know I have.

Reichman's statement at the end of his article is quite funny, in light of his (Reichman, a web expert) potential errors-

"This is why the so-called web forum experts can convince some photographers that bumble bees can't fly... errr... I mean, film can outresolve digital.
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Old 05-09-2012   #115
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Nothing wrong with digital B/W but I am with Chris when it comes to "faking" say a cyanotype a blue print does not a cyanotype make or my favourite the pigment print it's an inkjet print a pigment print is something different and was invented some hundred years ago.
Digital can be such a cool tool but it has to be able to stand on its own merits. Adding grain to a digital file is okay imho but again the look is different to real grain one is completely random (Film) and the other is based on an algorithm. If the look fits the picture I don't have a problem with it, if it's meant to confuse people in order to sell it as film based photography then I do have a problem with it, its all in the intention. The digital look can be used to great effect and I am constantly praying that people stop feeling ashamed for using it. If I want the film look I use film, if I want a different look maybe a little futuristic I'd use digital. As I often say digital can create worlds it's not constricted to a single medium it is multimedia but nearly nobody seems to use it for its strenght instead it's used to emulate things that already exist.
I also admit I have seen some extremely beautiful digital B/W work photography and CGI

Dominik
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Old 05-09-2012   #116
Godfrey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
is it that it looks too clean? no grain? too cold?

i'm serious...
the big knock against the compact disk for music is that there is no warmth...too clean.
is that similar for the digital black & white image?

that would make sense to me...i love digital music, even as a kid i disliked the 'extras' that could be heard on a vinyl record...i like grain in an image but i much prefer that clean, clinical look.
btw, if you have not checked out the b&w digital image thread...you should, some wonderful images in there.
B&W film photography is in the realm of a capture constraint. Most here are very familiar with the characteristics of the medium with regard to spectral and exposure qualities.

B&W digital photography is in the realm of rendering. Exposure and medium response needs are very different, most of the magic happens in the rendering effort, which is digital image processing. This is new to a lot of film photographers and requires the development of new skills both for capture and for rendering.

I've been doing image processing with both scanned B&W film and digital capture for almost 25 years now. There are times when I prefer the look of a particular film and shoot with that for that specific reason, or because I just happen to like using a particular film camera. But overall my end products are indistinguishable between film and digital capture. My 'image vision' encompasses both mediums: when I'm working with digital capture I have much broader processing options, but that's about it. Film is more work to manage, digital takes more vision and skill to get what I want.

I think the 'big knock' is really that people like their film cameras and don't want to give them up. I know I missed my Leica Ms and still miss my Hasselblad 903SWC. The digital cameras that replace them are simply different and somehow never quite the same thing.

And they're not particularly happy with the notion that they need to learn a new way of seeing exposure and rendering their images. People don't like change in their comfort zone ...
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Old 05-09-2012   #117
dcsang
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Originally Posted by paulfish4570 View Post
thanks, dave. i'd like to have that slider by itself. it seems much more delicate than plain ol' photoshop sharpening tools.
I would agree Paul.
It's "easier" for most people rather than having to fiddle with percentages and such.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 05-09-2012   #118
jsrockit
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These discussions really do remind me of people who argue that there's absolutely no difference between Thunderbird wine and a really good Burgundy. They personally can't tell the difference, so anyone else who sees it must be bluffing or a fraud.
The problem is that you think one process is better than the other when they are just different. Film excels in some aspects, digital in others. In your wine analogy, I'm taking it to mean that Thunderbird equals digital and a really good burgundy is film? I'm not so sure the differences between digital and film are that clear cut in quality in 2012. Again, they are just different mediums that each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Plus, taste is always a tricky topic.
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Old 05-09-2012   #119
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Easy way to settle this whole tired debate:

Have someone post a cross section of digital b&w developed in SEP2 and film shots and see if the film purists can identify which is which. My bet is they won't average better than someone who simply guesses.
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Old 05-09-2012   #120
Jack Conrad
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Every image on the Net is a digital image, so if I scan/copy my film,
does that somehow alter the grain of the film?
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